Meet the women and men who are championing women's rights in California. These inspiring leaders are organizing, mobilizing, leading movements, developing new frameworks, working on cutting-edge legislation and igniting innovation in philanthropy. They are improving women's health, safety and economic wellbeing but, most important, they’re leading with courage and love for their communities and our state. Start a conversation with us on social media using #WomenLeadCA and #LeadersinActionCA.
Sabrina Johnson is a therapist with a vision: She wants San Francisco’s home care workers to be treated with dignity because their contributions to our society are tremendous. “[Home care workers] need to be valued like we value the tech industry,” said Johnson. “Tech cannot get elderly people out of bed and feed them.”
“There was a need for local voices,” said Margarita Luna, a program manager with The California Endowment. She funded the creation of the Women’s Policy Institute-County to empower women to advocate for social and economic change in the Eastern Coachella Valley, an unincorporated part of Riverside County where many residents are poor agricultural workers from Latino immigrant families.
Griselda Reyes Basurto is helping to create a radical health initiative—teaching Mixteco and other immigrants from indigenous backgrounds in Ventura County about their bodies and reproductive rights—called Cuidando mi Cuerpo, meaning “caring for my body.”
The very nature of their work keeps domestic workers hidden from view. It might have stayed that way but for the commitment of organizers like Katie Joaquin. In 2013 domestic workers used public policy and their powerful voices to win a workplace right they had been denied for decades: overtime pay. In 2016, they are advocating again to make that hard-fought right permanent.
California is the seventh largest economy in the world, yet it accounts for 20 percent of the nation’s homeless population—nearly 115,000 people. Women and children are the fastest growing homeless population today. Kim Carter, executive director of Time for Change Foundation, overcame homelessness, prison and addiction to start a visionary organization that supports women as they rebuild and reclaim their lives.
In fairy tales, justice prevails miraculously and everyone lives happily ever after. But in the real world, women must take leadership and demand the change they wish to see. Jessie Ryan joined our Women’s Policy Institute in 2009 and used her experience and voice to transform the California’s community college system through public policy change.